Rugby: England call in former All Blacks skills coach Andrew Strawbridge before Six Nations

Andrew Strawbridge.
Andrew Strawbridge. Photo credit: Photosport

England coach Steve Borthwick has added New Zealander Andrew Strawbridge to his coaching team as a consultant for the first four weeks of the Six Nations championship, the RFU said on Friday (NZ time).

The 59-year-old was a skills consultant with the All Blacks, helping them to the final of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, having previously coached at North Harbour and Auckland and worked with New Zealand's highly successful under-20s team and then spending three years with Waikato.

"Andrew is another coach with a wealth of knowledge," Borthwick said. "He has worked extensively and successfully in Super Rugby and international rugby.

Andrew Strawbridge with the All Blacks coaching team in 2022.
Andrew Strawbridge with the All Blacks coaching team in 2022. Photo credit: Getty Images

"He has an incredible reputation in player development and has helped a large number of players progress to be amongst the best in the world.

"His work around the contact area is incredibly highly regarded, ensuring teams have the quick ball needed to launch a threatening attack."

Incoming assistant coach Felix Jones, who joins the set-up having helped South Africa to back-to-back World Cup triumphs, will now be responsible for England's defence with Kevin Sinfield moving to coaching individual skills and the kickers.

Richard Wigglesworth continues as attack coach and Tom Harrison remains in charge of the scrum.

"I am tremendously excited to start working with Felix who is a coach with an incredible reputation and with vast experience in international rugby," Borthwick said.

"With his background in Irish rugby and his wealth of knowledge operating in the southern hemisphere he will bring a different dimension to our coaching team."

England start their Six Nations campaign away to Italy on February 3 then host Wales, play away to Scotland and welcome Italy before finishing off against France in Lyon on March 16.

They finished fourth last year after managing two wins but following a dire series of warm-ups found some form to finish third in the World Cup.